The digital element
Everybody gets anxious when they wave off their loved ones on long trips. Whether they’re traveling for business or pleasure or if they’re old or young, everyone hopes the same thing: that they arrive at their destination safely.
We may feel the same way if we are on our journey. Smartphones make it easy to keep in touch. A simple text message when you land or a quick call after you have passed customs or border control are all that’s required.
The rise of mobile communications and Internet access is a major trend in tourism. Many apps can help you navigate the world. Many travel apps available that you can use from your couch, including TripIt and TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor provides reviews of the best taxi services, hotels, and restaurants. TripIt organizes your entire itinerary and syncs it with your digital calendar. It’s also changing how we navigate the world while on the go. Apps can help us navigate a new place in a car hire or learn the local language. People visiting Abu Dhabi, for example, can download an app that provides useful information in the local area and offers a variety of services in nine different languages.
People can now look at hotels and resorts online, and even book flights themselves. This makes it less necessary to hire a travel specialist. More people use mobile technology to organize their travel plans. According to eMarketer, mobile travel sales in the US will grow by 247 percent to $16 billion in 2013, to $55.5 billion in 2017.
Mobile is becoming a part of every stage of the travel process. We use our mobile devices to search for travel options, book our flights, and navigate around the destination. When we return to our home, we also leave feedback and reviews. We also make phone calls, texts, and emails to stay in touch with our family members when we are away.
It is important to do your research about where you are going before you set off. You should consider how you’ll be able to access the Internet safely while abroad. You can subscribe to comprehensive, up-to-date warning and travel advisory services from your government. Each time there is new travel advice, you will be notified via email or social media.
You will receive travel advisories that include information about civil unrest, terrorist activity, and other short-term circumstances that may pose a threat to your plans and travel plans. You will find information about safety and security, entry and exit requirements, health, and details on local laws and customs. The US Department of State, for example, has a comprehensive advisory.
Your passport is also digitally recorded by Interpol. The database contains 42 million records, from 167 countries. This system can be used to detect terrorist movements and check if a passport has been stolen. This database was established in 2005 and is used more then 230 million times annually in the United States, more that 140 million times in Britain, and more than 29 millions times in Singapore.
Since long, governments have desired better control over their borders. Technology has made it easier to control who is entering and exiting. Because of their digital trail, it is becoming more difficult for some travelers to cross borders. Travellers may find that they cannot enter a country because of a previous arrest or conviction, or even public admission of illegal activities. Nigella Lawson, for example, was stopped from entering the US because she admitted to engaging in illegal behavior.
Interpol estimates that more than 1.2 billion people flew internationally last year. While travel is thrilling, exciting and fun, it can also be dangerous. There are many things you can do to make sure your safety and enhance the experience, whether we’re travelling for business or pleasure. We can stay safe and be prepared for anything.
BOOKING A TRAVEL
Digital danger can exist even before you get out of your couch. You could fall for a scam if you imagine blue skies and sandy beaches. It is important to ensure that your travel or holiday booking is authentic.
Bogus holiday fraud is a scheme that sells holidays at extremely low prices. These scams involve fraudster travel companies that advertise hotel and flight bookings online. A phone number may refer to you. In addition, you might receive false documents with details about travel and accommodations. Unfortunately, the scam will not work and your holiday will not be available. The fraudster will take the remainder of your money. Sometimes, they only require a deposit that you will never see again. Fake competitions can also defraud you by asking for a deposit to guarantee your entry into a holiday prize drawing.
Paying with a creditcard can offer additional financial protection. However, you should check the terms and conditions of your card provider. This service may be charged an additional fee by some travel or holiday companies.
You can also protect yourself against fraudsters when traveling.
Look up the full details of the holiday company on the Internet. Also, research them. Read other reviews. You should verify that they are members of a recognized travel authority. This will provide financial protection and complaints services. You can verify their website or registration stamp by calling the travel authority. Report them if they are fraudsters.
Unsolicited email messages from unknown companies should not be replied to. To verify that the apartment or villa you are renting is legal, contact the agent or owner directly. TripAdvisor and similar sites have reviews. Find the exact address and location of the property on Google Maps.
You must have a contract that outlines the rental terms, deposit terms, and payment terms before you make any payments. Before you make any payment, ensure that your digital connection is secure.
* The browser window frame should contain a padlock symbol. This symbol will appear when you log in or register. Make sure the padlock symbol is not visible on the page. This could indicate a fraudulent website.
* Your web address should start with “https ://’.”. The’s” stands for secure.
All receipts used for online travel bookings or payments should be kept safe. After booking, make sure to check your bank and credit card statements to ensure that the correct amount was debited.
Fake travel ads can happen. Travel scams are a serious problem for those who travel to the Ryder Cup, World Cup or Commonwealth games in 2014. They cost UK holidaymakers PS7million last year, with over 4,500 holiday booking frauds reported directly to police. A couple in the UK spent PS1,000 to enjoy a Valentine’s Weekend away via a professional-looking website that was promoted on Facebook. They had taken photos of the accommodation from a legitimate website. They found no booking when they arrived at the destination.
You could end up booking tickets and reservations through these fraudulent deals. This could expose your credit card information and personal data to fraudsters. You could click on a link in an email, search result, or ad and download malware to your computer.
After you book your tickets, ensure that you keep any gadgets you might be carrying with you. Use strong pin codes or passwords to secure your mobile device. Install the most recent Internet security software such as Kaspersky Internet Security Multi-Device and firewall. Backup all data and stop printer or file sharing. You can remotely lock, locate, or wipe your information gadget.
You can disable Bluetooth pairing by going to’settings. This pairing (or linking) can be used by smart cybercriminals to gain secret access. This path should be blocked. You may not be able find your device using search functions such as Find My iPhone, or similar apps for Android, if you’ve lost it. To prevent the ‘find me” tools from functioning, a cybercriminal could put your gadget in ‘airplane mode. Your mobile service provider can disable your service if your phone is stolen or lost. In case your device is stolen or lost, make sure you have a complete list of all data that you carry.
Don’t buy it if you don’t use it. You should get rid of any gadgets that you don’t absolutely need. Don’t save any sensitive or personal information on your gadgets, including passport information and credit card numbers.
Notify your bank and credit card companies before you travel. You have many options for accessing your money while abroad, including debit and credit cards and travellers’ checks.
Avoid carrying cash on your travels. Instead, use major credit cards. However, make sure that they are accepted at the destination you’re visiting before you leave. Paying a bill should not require you to bring large sums of cash. To change money, go to a bank or hotel. Never use a street shopper, money exchange, or shop.
KEEPING YOUR HOME SAFE WHILE GOING AWAY
Make sure you have the right privacy settings in place before posting details about your travel dates to social media or tracking sites. Better yet, be vague and don’t give out exact dates or times. You could be a target for burglars if you share all your information on Facebook and Twitter. Social media allows you to check in at airports and let your family and friends know that you are on holiday. It also lets them know that your home is empty. Once you return home, this is the best and most secure way to share your information.
Facebook holiday postings often get more responses than others, which means that more people can see the update from their homepages. Be careful with Twitter if your real name is included. You can reverse stalk yourself. You should evaluate the information you post on social media and see if you can locate where you are or when you were there.
More than 75% of US convicted burglars believe that other burglars use social networks to locate targets. Google Streetview is a popular tool used by thieves to find homes they might burgle. Foursquare can be used to track who is using the airport lounges. By using GPS coordinates to tag the location where the update was made, social media platforms are showing more frequently where the user posted.
In general, burglars will try to break into a house within 10 minutes. They will stay longer at the house if they know that nobody is coming home and steal more valuable goods. Avoid social media while on holiday, no matter how tempting. After your trip, share your holiday photos. Avoid sharing location information automatically on social media and don’t share it with friends.
After taking care of your digital side, it’s time to look at the physical deterrents. You can take steps to ensure your home is secure when you’re away. Make sure that it looks occupied. You can cancel any regular deliveries. Ask a neighbor to pick up your mail and open and close curtains. You can also switch on the lights. You can also use automatic time switches to turn on your lights if you cannot arrange it. You can keep valuable items hidden and mark them with zip codes or postcodes. This will allow the police to identify stolen items.
Make sure you have current contents and house insurance coverage. Some policies have limitations on how long you can stay away from your policy without losing it. Most burglars reported a visible security system as the greatest deterrent. To make sure your alarm is working, test it.
Do not leave any information regarding your absence on voicemails or in out-of-office emails. Also, don’t carry your home address with you when you travel.
PRECAUTIONS FOR AIR TRAVEL
It is essential that you feel safe, comfortable, and at ease when travelling by air, especially long distances. These tips will ensure that your trip is smooth.
If you have the option, book non-stop flights. Avoiding intermediate stops increases flight security and reduces the chance of delays, luggage loss, or criminal attack.
* Do not display any logos or identifying labels on your luggage.
You should bring your luggage. Keep it with you until you get it checked in. Your computer, mobile phone and valuable equipment should always be under your control.
* Be sure to know what’s in every package you have. You should never take anything given to you by another person through customs or check-in, even if they are your friends.
To protect your anonymity, attach two identification labels to each piece you have. One to the handle with a flap at the front and one to the inside of the suitcase. In case the handle tag is lost or becomes detached, the second label can be attached to the inside of your suitcase lid. The labels should contain your name and destination address, but not your home postal code. This will allow the airline to return your item if it is lost.
* Ask for a seat at the rear of your aircraft. It is located next to the aisle, and has easy access to exits. These seats are the most secure in an emergency landing.
After you have completed your check-in formalities and are cleared to go, please limit your time in public places. You will need to pass through security and immigration checks before entering the departure zone. This area is restricted and less susceptible to pickpocketing and other criminal attacks.
Luggage can automatically be transferred between flights, but check with the airline before you fly.* Know the departure and arrival terminals for connecting flights. Also, be aware of the transfer time to get to the gates.
* Air travel is still considered the most safest mode of travel. However, listening to the safety briefing before you board your flight is important.
* Don’t show too much. Be casual and blend in with fellow travellers. Avoid expensive jewellery and wristwatches. Avoid working on a flight, particularly if you use sensitive papers or a laptop computer. Avoid discussing religious or political matters with other passengers, especially in volatile regions of the globe.
SMARTPHONES & OTHER MOBILE DEVICES
Make sure your mobile devices are compatible with the destination country. This should be done well in advance of your departure date. International calling restrictions can take time and you cannot call from another country. You can pre-programme the phone numbers of consulates, embassies, and hotels closest to your destination into your mobile phone. Make sure you have a charger and an adapter. You should be cautious about charging your phone in public areas or hotel rooms, as they could upload malware to your device.
Because mobile gadgets are so easy to sell, criminals love them. Make sure you have yours at all times. You must activate the PIN protection codes. Take note of the serial numbers on your devices as well as the phone number(s) for your operators. If your mobile device is stolen, you can contact the operator to ask them to stop the service.
Turn off the feature that allows your smartphone to automatically input passwords and login information when you go to websites. This feature can be very convenient, but it can also pose privacy issues.
Roaming fees can quickly add up and be extremely expensive. It can be tempting to get free Wi-Fi connections if you don’t want roaming. Did you know password-protected networks could also pose a risk to your safety? These include those in airports, hotels, and cafes.
You are at risk of being tracked online by someone using Wi-Fi hotspots. It is possible to be tricked into connecting to a fake hotspot that looks like one or gives you a free service. Cybercriminals can see your passwords, emails, and social media profiles once they gain access. This can be avoided by ensuring that your mobile device’s security is set up and turning off the wireless connection when not in use. Android is susceptible to malicious software. Kaspersky offers effective anti-virus and mobile security apps for smartphones.
Verify that the network you are looking at is secure and legitimate. Do not assume it is real. Ask the manager if the network is locked, encrypted, and password protected if you’re at a cafe or hotel. To ensure complete privacy, use encrypted channels while surfing the Internet. You can always purchase a data plan network if you are unsure. Global data roaming packages are available from service providers. These give you access to a set amount of megabytes per month for as low as $30, such that 120MB is for $30 per month.
If you don’t own a mobile device, avoid using public computers, such as those in libraries and hotels. It is impossible to know if anyone has already infected your machine with malware, spyware or key logger software that captures the keys you press.
TRAVELLING FOR BUSINESS
The world can seem hostile. Traveling can put us all at risk. Business travellers are particularly vulnerable to fraud, cybercrime, and theft of corporate information. They may be targeted by criminals or others using sophisticated techniques such as social engineering and phishing. Some countries have the right to inspect mobile devices and their contents at borders. Border agents in the USA are permitted to inspect files on smartphones, laptops and other digital devices that you bring into the country. They can also share and copy data with other agencies and request the password if it is encrypted.
Companies need to consider whether critical information and technology should not be made available to employees working abroad, especially if it has great strategic or commercial value. It is important to assess the potential damage to client relationships if sensitive customer data was stolen. Business travellers may encounter different cultures, laws and attitudes while on their journeys. Business travellers should be informed about all pertinent considerations and company policies in advance. Once they arrive, they need to develop an awareness of the local environment. All smartphones, tablets, and laptops should be cleared of any sensitive data before travelling. Any remaining data should also be backed up. All devices and applications must have the most current anti-virus software.
Individuals who work on portable devices and computers while away from the company premises should:
To prevent unauthorised access, they should use their company’s Virtual Private Network. They should not use webmail services such as Hotmail and Gmail for official business purposes. Also, they should avoid connecting to corporate networks via Wi-Fi in public areas. They shouldn’t log in to corporate networks using mobile devices or computers outside their company.
* Make sure they back up their work. If they are not connected remotely to the company’s network, this will not happen automatically.
When not in use, keep sensitive media and printouts safe. All laptops, smartphones, and tablets that are taken abroad should be encrypted with full disc encryption and contain only the essential information.
This will stop’shoulder surfing’.* Do not work in public areas such as train stations, hotel lobbies and airports. They can easily be overlooked or overheard.
* Don’t allow chargers to be used in public areas or hotel rooms. They could upload malware onto your device.
Do not insert any unknown USB discs, USB drives or other media into your computer. They may contain malicious software.
* Report to their companies immediately any unusual activities or events during foreign travel. This includes foreign customs related to their tablets, smartphones, and laptops.
Traveling with laptops or IT equipment can pose a risk in certain countries, particularly if the devices contain sensitive data. These countries might have weak security measures or lax law enforcement, heightened terrorist, criminal and military activity, limited intellectual property laws, unfriendly or antagonistic feelings toward the traveller’s home country; corrupt border officials who ask for a ‘tax to allow equipment into or out of the country. Only corporate laptops, tablets, and smartphones should be taken to high risk destinations if they have been authorized by line management. They also need to be encrypted on all discs and not sensitive data. All sensitive data on portable media devices should be removed and encrypted.
GAP YEAR TRAVEL
Gap years are still a popular option for young people who want to travel, work, and have fun. It comes with some risk, as with all adventures. Good preparation is essential:
* Do not ignore your finances. You will need sufficient funds to cover your travel expenses and your living expenses. Your budget should not be based on the possibility of earning extra money abroad (then, if you can it’s a bonus), and you must ensure that you have enough funds to cover any unplanned events. Make sure you have good travel insurance. You’ll be happy you did if you need it.
Get all paperwork in order (passports, visas, vaccinations) before leaving for your trip. Do your research on your destination and make sure you have as many arrangements as possible for your accommodation and travel. Keep track of the phone numbers of consulates and embassies in the countries you plan to visit.
Next, organize a variety of methods of accessing your money while abroad, such as credit and debit cards.* Keep a small amount in cash that can be converted to US dollars or UK sterling for your first needs. Wear it underneath your clothes and invest in a money belt to protect your cash and valuables. You can open a bank account in your local area to deposit your money for safekeeping if you’re staying for a while.
Before you go, prepare a detailed itinerary and share it with your family. Keep in touch with your family while you are away. You can call, text, or email your family to let them know where you are. While you will have the time of your lives, Mum and Dad will undoubtedly be concerned about you.
Be careful about your safety. Travel with friends as often as possible and look out for one another. Keep in touch with your friends and keep track of the whereabouts of others in your group. You can exchange mobile numbers and details about accommodation and set up regular meetings or calls. Be aware of each other’s needs, especially if you have had the ‘Demon Drink’ which can dull your senses and lower your defenses.
* Respect the laws of any country you visit, regardless of how harsh or unfair they may seem to you. Never carry, use or become involved in drugs. For drug offenses, death or life imprisonment can be imposed in some countries. Your government will not be able help you.
HOME SWEET HOME
After an amazing trip, you have returned home and it is time to share your experience with others. You can post your photos to your social media accounts, knowing that you are inside your home, which deters burglars.
You should make sure to review your bank statements, bills, and other accounts for suspicious activity. You should immediately report any suspicious transactions if your mobile device was stolen.
Examine all USB sticks, media, and gadgets for malware, unauthorised access, or corruption. After running this test, do not connect your devices to any trusted network. If it is found to be infected, you can reformat it and reconstruct it from trusted sources. To restore data, you can use backups made before the trip.
After ensuring that your devices are safe, go through your accounts and change your passwords.
PUSHING THE DIGITAL BOUNDARIES
The rise of digital travel has made us more independent than our travel agents and we expect this trend to continue. We can now order an espresso in multiple languages, and get directions to the nearest museum using local travel apps. Wearable Artificial Intelligence will soon support these apps, like Google Glass. Virtual reality advancements could allow you to ‘visit’ anywhere without ever leaving your couch. A potential booking agent could dive into the Great Barrier Reef to decide whether to book their holiday. These technologies are now possible to fit on a contact lens.
Facial coding algorithms could power our search engines by 2024. Our facial expressions and reactions could affect search results. Digital travel is here to stay, and it is always evolving. Do not ignore that digital travel is now part and parcel of our journey. Make sure to embrace its best features, with the right security tools.
It is possible to travel to most countries around the globe with good planning, digital precautions, and awareness of the cyber dangers.